Compared to places like California, the Grand Canyon State is still a more affordable state to live in. However, many residents struggle with consumer debts, including high-interest credit cards, student loans, and auto loans. Fortunately, there are many solutions for those seeking debt relief in Arizona, from debt consolidation to local and federal programs.
Arizona Ranks 12th for Consumer Debt
According to Experian, Arizona ranks number 12 for consumer debt out of all 50 states. The average resident has a debt burden of $103,326. In comparison, the average personal income is about half that at $51,381.
When it comes to consumer debt, things like interest rates and lender fees add up. And, in a state where the typical household income is lower than the national average, this can lead to significant financial struggles.
Other Arizona Debt Statistics
Here are a few recent debt statistics for Arizonans.
- Average credit card debt per household: $5,930 (ranked 29 out of 50 states)
- Average credit utilization ratio: 26%
- Total outstanding student loan debt: $31.4 billion
- Average student loan debt per person: $35,396 (federal and private loans)
- Percentage of residents with accounts in collections: 27%
- Median debt in collections: $1,903
- Average credit score in Arizona: 710
The Best Debt Consolidation Companies in Arizona
Seeking Arizona debt relief? Here are some of the top debt consolidation companies in the state.
Vanderford Center Inc. – Phoenix
Established in 1989, Vanderford Center has several locations, including one in Phoenix and one in Centennial Park, Arizona. It provides debt consolidation services to those seeking debt relief in Arizona. It also operates as a mortgage broker.
- P.O. Box 78330 Phoenix, AZ, 85062-8330, or
- 1725 S. Berry Knoll Blvd. Centennial Park, AZ, 86021-1200
- (928) 875-8000
- Rating: 7.94/10
Pro Card Services Inc.
Pro Card Services has been in business for 16 years. It provides debt relief and debt consolidation services.
- 806 N. 24th Street #2 Phoenix, AZ, 85008
- (877) 645-0138
- Rating: 8.23/10
National Credit Rescue
National Credit Rescue is a small business that offers debt consolidation services. It has been in operation for the past 35 years.
- 5026 E Michelle Dr. Scottsdale, AZ, 85254-7616
- (602) 930-3887
- Rating: 8.33/10
Money Management International, Inc.
Founded in 1997, Money Management International provides debt relief and debt consolidation to people around the country, including in Arizona. It also helps with credit card repayment, debt management, home purchases, and bankruptcy support. The main website has various free resources for those looking to rebuild their credit. It has an A+ rating on BBB with 4.91/5 stars.
- 2401 W Peoria Ave Ste 120 Phoenix, AZ, 85029-4790
- (800) 308-2227
Lawyers Title of Arizona (formerly LandAmerica Transnation)
Previously known as LandAmerica Transnation, Lawyers Title of Arizona provides debt relief and consolidation services to residents.
- 2580 Highway 95 Ste 121 Bullhead City, AZ, 86442-7328
- (928) 763-3211
- Rating: 8.53/10
Global Finance has over 20 years of experience providing credit counseling and other debt-relief services in the Phoenix area. It offers customized solutions to those struggling with high-interest debt or poor credit. It has an A+ rating on BBB.
- 6501 E Greenway Pkwy Ste 103-549 Scottsdale, AZ, 85254-2065
- (800) 520-9942
- Rating: 8.64/10
Consumer Protection Legal Center
Operating out of Phoenix, Arizona, Consumer Protection Legal Center offers debt consolidation services to Arizona residents.
- 40 N Central Ave #1400 Phoenix, AZ 85004
- (480) 696-5811
- Rating: 9.18/10
Ark Financial Services, LLC
Ark Financial Services, LLC helps with debt consolidation. It also employs qualified financial advisors to help individuals make a plan and achieve their financial goals.
- Phoenix, AZ, 85016-8299
- (602) 344-9102
- Rating: 9.29/10
How Can I Get Help Paying My Bills in Arizona
Arizona offers many grants, local, and government-run programs to those who need help with a financial crisis. These programs are designed to help eligible individuals, families, and children with things like:
- Medical expenses
- Legal assistance
- Dealing with debt collectors
- Rent and mortgage payments
- Utility bills
If you’re seeking debt relief or bill payment assistance in Arizona, here are some of the best options.
- Community Action Programs (CAPs): The Community Services Division partners with community partners and local governing bodies to provide help with utility bills and rental payments. It also contracts with local CAPs for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), a federally-funded program. LIHEAP helps low-income households pay their heating and cooling bills by maximizing energy efficiency, minimizing energy crises, and making energy costs more affordable.
- Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program (CEAP): This utility assistance program is designed to help low-income households meet their immediate energy needs by improving efficiency and lowering energy bills. It also serves as a long-term advocate in assisting Arizonans to control their energy costs for years to come through energy education.
- Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS): The AHCCCS is the state’s Medicaid agency. It provides several healthcare programs to uninsured or underinsured residents. Its goal is to ensure families and individuals have access to vital healthcare services, including preventative care (ex. physicals, vaccinations), prenatal care, prescriptions, and hospital/office visits. Phone: (800) 654-8713
- KidsCare: KidsCare is a low-cost health insurance plan for children under the age of 19. Services include hospital care, doctor’s visits, prescription medication, lab work, preventative and emergency care, physicals, and immunizations. Some individuals may also receive vision or dental screening and exams. Those who are eligible may also receive affordable monthly premiums. Phone: (877) 764-5437
- SOBRA: This program falls under the AHCCCS. It includes health coverage for minors and low-income pregnant women. Services include lab work, x-rays, doctor’s visits, prescriptions, hospital stays, and behavioral health services. In most cases, there is no monthly premium.
- Family Independence Program: This limited program works with low-income families who can’t fully support dependent children by helping them with their basic needs. It can also provide job training, debt education, and temporary cash grants.
- Government Cash Assistance program: Available to those under the age of 19, this program provides short-term cash grants, benefits, and other supportive services. As a temporary program, its primary goal is to help those in need get back on their feet. Phone: (800) 352-8401
- Legal representation: There are various pro bono (free) and low-cost legal services available to Arizona families.
- Rehousing and Homeless Prevention: The Coalition to End Homelessness in Arizona serves as an advocate to end homelessness and provide safe, affordable housing for Arizona residents. It can help by providing short-term rent assistance, temporary shelter, or even halting eviction proceedings. Phone: (602) 340-9393
- Job training: One Stop Centers in Arizona can help residents find employment, whether they’re new job seekers or returning to the workforce. It also offers resources for those seeking unemployment benefits or job-related training.
- Free Child Care Assistance: Through the Arizona Department of Economic Security, it’s possible to get free or low-cost childcare assistance. The average monthly subsidy is around $350.
In addition to these programs, there are also multiple food banks and centers throughout Arizona. The Arizona Food Bank Network has a network that expands across all 15 counties offering food to nearly 1 million people each year. Here are just a few.
Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona
- 3003 S Country Club Rd Tucson, AZ 85713
- (520) 622-0525
- 9229 N. Fourth St. Phoenix, AZ 85020
- (602) 870-6062
- 2831 N. 31st Avenue Phoenix, AZ 85009
- (602) 242-3663
- 245 S. Nina Drive Mesa, AZ 85210
- (480) 926-4897
Yuma Community Food Bank (Southwestern Arizona)
- 2404 E 24th St. Yuma, Arizona 85365
- (928) 343-1243
Arizona’s Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions (DIFI) is responsible for enforcing the state’s payday loan laws. The department does various things, including:
- Give out licenses to the state’s financial institutions (banks, lenders, etc.)
- Monitor the activities of financial institutions and lenders
- Uphold state regulations across all financial institutions
The DIFI also investigates consumer complaints regarding these institutions or potentially unethical or illegal lending practices. This makes it a helpful resource for Arizona residents who have been a victim of illegal schemes or financial practices, such as payday lending.
Arizona’s DIFI also maintains an up-to-date public record of each financial institution’s and lender’s licenses. This database is easily accessible, so consumers can check if the lender is in good standing before borrowing from them. The Department also provides copies of the current official regulations regarding payday lending laws in Arizona.
Where to Make a Complaint
The best place to register a complaint about illegal or fraudulent lending activities is with Arizona’s DIFI. Here’s the contact information:
- Regulator: Arizona Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions
- Address: 100 N. 15th Street, Suite 261 Phoenix, AZ 85007
- Phone: (602) 771-2800
- Fax: (602) 381-1225
- Email: email@example.com
- Official website: File A Complaint | Arizona Department of Financial Institutions
Arizonans may also submit a complaint to the Consumer Federal Protection Bureau (CFPB). This federal organization is dedicated to helping consumers with financial or lending issues, such as payday lenders.
Debt Collection in Arizona
Arizona is protected by the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). However, it also offers certain state protections to residents.
In Arizona, all debt collectors are regulated by state law. The law prohibits these entities from engaging in deceptive, manipulative, or fraudulent debt collection practices. It also requires debt collection agencies to be licensed. If you are dealing with an unlicensed agency, it may be a scam.
For the most part, Arizona law is similar to the FDCPA. The key difference is that Arizona law is a criminal statute, meaning individuals cannot sue collection agencies for violating it.
Under Arizona law, the following debt collection practices are prohibited:
- Sending written communications imitating any form of legal process
- Claiming the debt collector practices law unless they are a lawyer
- Attempting to collect any additional fees or expenses the debtor isn’t legally obligated to pay
- Threatening to sell the debtor’s obligation (account) to a third-party agency
- Claiming the debtor owes more than they do on an account
- Stating or implying that the debt collector is working on behalf of the State of Arizona or any state agency
What is the Statute of Limitations on Debt in Arizona?
The statute of limitations determines whether a creditor can legally sue a debtor (borrower) over an unpaid debt. After the statute of limitations ends, the creditor can no longer initiate a lawsuit on the outstanding debt. However, they can still try to collect the debt.
In Arizona, the statute of limitations depends on the type of debt:
- Credit card debt: 3 years
- Auto loan debt: 4 years
- Mortgage debt: 6 years
- Medical debt: 6 years
- State tax debt: 10 years
If You’re Being Harassed by Debt Collectors
If debt collectors are harassing you, file a complaint with each of the following entities:
- Arizona’s Attorney General’s office
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
Filing for Bankruptcy in Arizona
For some Arizonans seeking debt relief, bankruptcy could offer a fresh start. The two main types of personal bankruptcy are:
- Chapter 7: Usually the most common option for individuals, Chapter 7 involves selling off (liquidating) the debtor’s assets to repay their creditors. Afterward, any remaining eligible debts are erased. Chapter 7 cases usually last 4 to 6 months.
- Chapter 13: With Chapter 13, the debtor gets to keep most or all of their property and assets. Instead, they must set up a 3 or 5-year payment plan with their creditors to pay as much of their debts as possible. These cases are usually much more complicated and often require a bankruptcy attorney.
Most people don’t get to choose which type of bankruptcy they file. For instance, to qualify for Chapter 7, you must first pass a means test.
This test considers the individual’s income, expenses, and household size when determining if they have enough disposable income to repay their debts. Here are the current limitations for the means test, based on income and household size:
- 1-Member Household – $41,993.00
- 2-Member Household – $55,022.00
- 3-Member Household – $56,503.00
- 4-Member Household – $64,604.00
- 5-Member Household – $72,704.00
- 6-Member Household – $80,804.00
- 7-Member Household – $88,904.00
- 8-Member Household – $97,004.00
- 9-Member Household – $105,104.00
- 10-Member Household – $113,204.00
If your current monthly household income is below Arizona’s median income for a comparably-sized household, you’ll probably be able to file Chapter 7. Before filing, contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney to make sure.
Arizona Bankruptcy Exemptions
Some states have bankruptcy exemptions, which can protect certain assets. In Arizona, these exemptions include:
- Homestead exemption: Up to $150,000
- Personal property: $6,000 in household furnishings (single filer) or $12,000 (married filer)
- Vehicle: Up to $6,000 (or up to $12,000 if the debtor has a qualifying disability)
- Wages: Up to 75% of disposable income
- Pension/retirement: Generally exempt, but with some limitations
Payday Lending Laws in Arizona: Prohibited
Payday lending is illegal in the state of Arizona. The maximum interest rate (APR) on a short-term loan is 36%.
The maximum loan term varies by the principal (size of the loan). Here are the maximum terms based on the principal balance:
- $0 to $1,000: 25 months and 15 days
- $1,000 to $2,500: 36 months and 15 days
- $2,500 to $4,000: 48 months and 15 days
- $4,000 to $6,000: 60 months and 15 days
- $6,000+: No legal payment term requirements
How to File for Unemployment in Arizona
To apply for unemployment benefits in Arizona, you’ll need to provide the following:
- Full legal name
- Social Security Number
- Mailing address and county of residence
- Government ID (ex. driver’s license)
- Employment history for the past 18 months
- Most recent date of work
You can apply online. For details, go to the Arizona Department of Economic Security. Or use this step-by-step guide for how to apply.
The Bottom Line
Arizona debt relief is available to people struggling financially, and especially to those who seek immediate or short-term aid. The state has several licensed debt consolidation companies that can help. But it also offers a myriad of state, government, and community programs for those in need of economic assistance.
Arizona Debt Statistics
|Debt Per Capita||$2,089|
|Debt Per Capita Rank||39|
Source: World Population Review
Arizona Credit Card Debt Statistics
|Average Credit Card Balance||$5,930|
|Average Credit Score||710|
|Avg Credit Card Balance Rank (1 = Highest Balance)||29|
|Avg Credit Score Rank (1=Highest Score)||36|
Mortgage Debt in Arizona
|Mortgage Debt Per Capita||$229,332|
|Average 30 year Mortgage Rate||5.93%|
|Average 15 year Mortgage Rate||5.07%|
|Median Home Value||$255,900|
|Average Outstanding Mortgage Debt||$220,380|
|Difference Between Value and Mortgage Debt||$35,520|
|Average Homeowner VantageScore||719|
Source: Federal Reserve, Value Penguin, Experian
Payday Loan Debt in Arizona
|Payday Loan Legal Status||Prohibited|
|Max Payday Loan Amount||N/A|
|Max Payday Loan Term||N/A|
|Max Payday Loan APR||N/A|
Source: Arizona Government Website
Unemployment and the Economy of Arizona
|Poverty Rate – Population||12.4%|
|Poverty Rate – Population – Rank||9|
|Poverty Rate – Family||14%|
|Poverty Rate – Family – Rank||12|
|Unemployment Rate (June 2022)||3.2%|
|GDP Growth Rank||9|
Source: US Census, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Student Loan Debt in Arizona
|Percent of Population with Student Loans||54%|
|Average Student Loan debt||$23,967|
|Average Debt of New Graduates (2017-18)||N/A|
|Average Debt Rank||N/A|
|Percent of Graduates with Debt (2017-18)||N/A|
|Percent with Debt Rank||N/A|
|Usable Institutions (BA-Granting)||2|
|Percent of Graduates at Schools with Usable Data||20%|
|Nonfederal debt of graduates, as percent of total debt||N/A|
|Fall enrollment – Undergraduate total (IPEDS)||501,391|
|Tuition and Fees (in-district/in-state)||$9,293|
|Total Cost of Attendance (on-campus)||$27,246|
|Percent of Institutional Grants that are Need-Based||75%|
Source: Value Penguin, TICAS
Cost of Living in Arizona
|Annual Mean Wage (All Occupations)||$61,744|
|Median Monthly Rent||$1,664|
|Value of a Dollar||$1.04|
|Cost of Living||102.2|
|Cost of Living Rank||24|
|Grocery Cost Index||96.1|
|Housing Cost Index||107.8|
|Utilities Cost Index||102.7|
|Transportation Cost Index||107|
|Miscellaneous Cost Index||95.8|
Source: World Population Review